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Fox News and Some Conservatives Were Apparently Watching A Different Egyptian Revolution

February 12, 2011

Many in the GOP and almost everyone at Fox News have made it clear that freedom and democracy are just empty, hollow politically expedient tools to use to whack one’s political opponent over the head with. Anyone can stick a flag pin on their lapel and claim to be a patriot but it takes real guts to actually walk the walk. We saw the Egyptians do just that for the past 18 days- they demonstrated to the world that 80 million Arabs (and the nation’s Christians) could unite peacefully across the class, education and social divide to topple a dictatorship. The image of the violent, angry Arab which has permeated our American consciousness was finally replaced with images of unity, courage and peaceful resistance.

But hey, not as far as Fox News is concerned. I don’t know what revolution they were watching but it wasn’t the same one I tuned in to. As we speak, they are continuing to promote their favorite theme- Muslims Will Takeover the World and Launch Jihad! The fact that people can be Muslim and want a largely secular government is totally lost on Fox News, Sarah Palin and others in the GOP. Noticeably absent from the protests in Egypt were burning American flags, burning Israeli flags and hateful rhetoric. This must really have dismayed Fox News and the democracy-is-great-for-everyone-but-Arabs crowd. To be fair to the political right, there were some neoconservatives who took a principled stand- people like Rich Lowry, Bill Kristol, Elliot Abrams- people whom I disagree with on almost every foreign policy issue, but they deserve credit where credit is due.

So, while the Egyptians have been protesting for economic opportunity, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the right to assemble and an end to the nepotism, an end to the imprisonment and torture of activists, some in the U.S. are continuing to spread the fear of a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood. It doesn’t matter how many times Egyptians in the street say they want a true secular democracy which includes the participation of as many people as possible, including those that represent political Islam. It also doesn’t matter that the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence a long time ago and that Al Qaeda has lashed out brutally at them for doing so. It doesn’t matter that today the Egyptian military said Egypt will continue to honor all international treaties and commitments (ie. the peace treaty with Israel). It doesn’t matter that the opposition leader (of sorts) Mohamed El Baradei has said it’s wrong to assume Egyptians would want to toss out a peace treaty with Israel. None of that matters. That said, I think what people in the US and Israel really fear is that a democratic Egypt would be less likely to give into every U.S. and Israeli whim and put an Arab stamp of legitimacy on the Occupation. In fact, it is very likely that a democratic Egypt could use it’s considerable leverage (via the peace treaty and it’s borders) to encourage a more speedy resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Egypt is also likely to stress to Israel that peace is a two way street. Is this change necessarily a bad thing? I guess it is to the folks in Israel and the U.S. who have become used to the status quo that allows continued Israeli expansion and no end to the Occupation. But for those of us who want to see true peace in the Middle East, it’s an opportunity to achieve that.

How ironic that some in this country are using the very same fear-mongering tactics that Mubarak himself used to justify preventing any real political opposition that could threaten his rule:

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Friday that it’s essential that the U.S. try to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from having a part in Egypt’s new government.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on Fox’s “Hannity” that Washington has six months to work with the military leaders guiding the democratic transition in Egypt.

“As Americans we have a strategic interest in the Middle East. We cannot just sit back and say that the Muslim Brotherhood can work itself in,” King said.

He said that the group, which was banned under the Mubarak regime, says they are not violent yet “talk violence.”

“We as Americans cannot take the risk of allowing a group that fraternizes with terrorists who talks radically to have them get any power in the Middle East,” King said.

“Use our influence, considerable influence we have, use it right and do all we can to ensure the Muslim Brotherhood does not insinuate itself into the situation.”

I guess some people are just going to continue not giving the Egyptian people any credit, despite all we’ve seen over the past almost three weeks. I also guess some people think the Egyptian people are too stupid to pick their own leaders, so naturally they need the United States to step in and help them. Exactly how does Rep. King think the U.S. can demand the Muslim Brotherhood has no role in the Egyptian elections?

Also, haven’t we been calling on radical groups throughout the world to renounce violence? But then when they do, we basically say “well, maybe you renounced violence but you used to be violent, so you still can’t have a place at the table…” That sort of sends the message that a) we don’t mean what we say and b) there really is no point in renouncing violence because we won’t let you play in any reindeer games anyway.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. discourseincsharpminor permalink
    February 12, 2011 4:32 pm

    If they keep this up, they will insight what is currently going on only in their fragile little minds. A hat tip definitely needs to be directed to those on the right who are bucking this rather bizarre trend. I can’t believe some of the people we put on TV have and pass off and news analysts have come so far into WingnutVille that they don’t believe that muslim people don’t want basic human dignity like every other kind of people, but are in fact looking for a way to topple western civilization and take over the world. That sounds more like a Pinky and the Brain plot than the Egyptian revolution to me. I wonder how long it will be before these nutty pundits start crying out for a new Crusade because more of these people who read the Koran want to vote, too and that scares them..

    I’m sorry, Mr. Beck and friends, that guy with the cat doesn’t strike fear into the deepest reaches of my heart. He just doesn’t. The cat doesn’t either.

    • February 12, 2011 4:38 pm

      Yeah, that guy and his cat really strike fear in the hearts of all us peace-loving people. He and his cat have “World Domination” written all over them, don’t they?

  2. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    February 12, 2011 5:03 pm

    I thought I read that the Muslim Brotherhood has already said they don’t intend to present a candidate for the Presidency or seek majority in the Parliament. Uh, doesn’t that kinda take the wind outta Peter King’s sails?

    • Thain permalink
      February 12, 2011 5:15 pm

      I think that’s the point- it doesn’t matter what the facts are, the political right need a boogey man to justify pulling strings behind the scenes to ensure that Egypt has democracy in name only so that the US and Israel can continue to use Egypt like a puppet state.

  3. SirJohn permalink
    February 12, 2011 5:29 pm

    Well maybe Hillary was watching Fox News too. From the LA Times with commentary by journalist Helena Cobban in bold:

    The authors identified the pro-Mubarak faction in the White House as including the powerful trifecta of Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, and national security adviser Thomas Donilon, along with both Dennis Ross and Dan Shapiro. Identified with the pro-reform faction are named only a speechwriter, Ben Rhodes, and the veteran human-rights activist Samantha Power.

    (Interestingly, the article notes that Dan Shapiro, who is the NSC official in charge of all Arab-Israeli matters, had previously worked as Obama’s outreach guy to the U.S. Jewish community during the presidential campaign. Oh yes, can’t we just all “take it on trust” that he is a guy who knows a lot about the Middle East and can understand the intricacies of the politics, society, and needs of each Arab country as well as he understands Israel’s…)

    As for Ross, the former head of the Jerusalem-based Jewish People’s Policy Planning Institute, no further comment on his ability to be “fair and balanced” is needed here.

    Hillary must have been praying the Mubarak stayed in power because now she looks like she’s pro-dictator, willing to enforce stability at all costs, even if means the oppression of 85 million Egyptians.

    Question- is there any issue about which Hillary doesn’t side with Defense Secy Gates and the hawks? As Les Gelb of the Council of Foreign Relations said, in every meeting he attended with Secretary Clinton she was always the most conservative, hawkish person in the room and coming from a CFR hack, that’s saying something!

    Hillary surrounds her self with AIPAC and WINEP advisers. Her whole mideast negotiating team have dual Israeli citizenship. If she were POTUS we’d probably have bombed Iran and Mubarak would probably still be in power.

  4. February 13, 2011 11:37 am

    It is indeed a very disappointing to see that these people doesn’t give the Egyptian people its credit and be afraid of “Muslim takeover”. I agree with you on this side of revolution that is taking place over all Egypt and perhaps to the rest of the middle east.

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